Striving to be Moral in an Immoral World:
Part 1 The Rewards of a Moral Lifestyle
By Jonathan Evan Fields
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(Dedicated to two young Christians, Christopher and Bola of Nigeria, and to all young people everywhere in the world.)
A man named Roy Lessin once said, “God will never ask you to do anything for Him that He expects you to do without Him.” God does ask us to live morally in a world that is not moral, but He does NOT expect us to do this without His help! Yet first YOU have to decide that you WANT God’s blessings and God’s rewards for a moral life before you will turn your heart and mind toward God and ask for His help, followed by His tremendous blessings. How do we define a “moral lifestyle”? A moral lifestyle is living according to God’s Commandments and the example set by Jesus Christ. In this article we are talking specifically about sexual purity, whether remaining a virgin until marriage, or becoming celibate after previously being sexually involved. (Celibate refers to is a person who is no longer a virgin, but has decided to abstain from sexual immorality.) And what exactly are these blessings, these “rewards” of a moral lifestyle?
A clear conscience is a great benefit to your life. To be free of nagging guilt is like a soaring, liberating power launching you free--free to grow into your greatest potential! When you feel that your life is pleasing to God and that you are living in his ways and attitudes, that joyful clearness of conscience lifts you into a high green plain of fresh, breathable air and limitless potential. When you are truly free of guilt and your conscience is clear you have the power of God Himself to lean upon and this power can help you to achieve the goals of your heart!
Self-respect also flows out of a clear conscience and freedom from guilt. Self-respect is like pure fresh water that sinks down into the roots of a plant and enables its growth. When we have no respect for ourselves we are unable to grasp our potential or the full plan that God has for our lives. Our positive growth is limited like that of a stunted plant. Walking daily with Jesus Christ in moral decisions enables us to love ourselves as God loves us. This self- respect nourishes our view of our possibilities—our possible accomplishments with God’s help. We can grow “taller” and stronger as we stay rooted in His goodness and in His ability to sustain us.
Freedom from sexual diseases is another benefit of sexual purity. Gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes and many other sexual diseases all exact a painful toll on the poor individual that finds himself/herself paying that sad penalty. AIDS can also be the result of sexual activity outside of God’s plan for your life and can devastate your hopes for a bright future. Whether we are taking about a brief painful illness or a life threatening battle with full blown AIDS—how sweet it is to be FREE from the threat of such grim devastation upon your fine young body! If you have set your mind and heart to follow Jesus and are daily leaning on His power to help you stay moral—then you can achieve FREEDOM from the worry of contracting sexual diseases. What sweet peace there is in being free from the worry of contracting sexual diseases!
Discerning whether you truly love someone and deciding whether he or she is right for you are both much easier when you are not involved sexually with that person. So many unhappy marriages start with a sexual attraction that seems like true love. If a woman and man are engaged in sex it can mask and hide differences and incompatibilities that can later rip apart their marriage or their relationship. Sex is designed by God to be holy and right within a marriage and can help hold a good marriage together. It is meant to be a binder of husband and wife—yet if it comes before the marriage it can keep you from seeing clearly the faults and problems of the other person. Sexual intercourse can lead you to feel drawn to and connected with someone that isn’t really right for your personality, background and life goals. When a man or woman walks with God carefully and prayerfully-- and with God’s daily help-- avoids premarital sex, then that man or woman is much more able to clearly evaluate potential marriage partners! Love can be built on common goals, interests and the life plans of each rather than on sexual experiences. Sex can make you feel that you are madly in love with someone when that person is so ill suited for you that they would make you miserable in the long run! A relationship built on a friendship that grows slowly into love and avoids premarital sex gives a much better chance of long lasting happiness and a truly joyful marriage.
Freedom from accidental pregnancy is another reward of moral living. Even for a young man this is a vitally important issue for he bears a responsibility before God for those he fathers! Plans for college or achieving a career goal can be demolished by the financial needs of a child. An unplanned pregnancy can certainly limit the options of a young woman and put her in a situation of having to care for a baby before she is ready mentally, emotionally, or financially. If the potential “parents” decide to take the life of their newly begotten child through abortion, then that, too, bears long term consequences of guilt and regret. How good to be free from such terrible problems! How marvelous to have your first child born within marriage, within a happy home and with great joy at his or her arrival! What a great blessing to have a baby when the time is right and with both parents ready and eager to take on their new roles. Consider the benefits not only to yourself, but also to your future child of not risking an accidental pregnancy, and of avoiding that possibility. “Flee fornication” as it is worded in the King James Bible version or “Shun immorality” in the Revised Standard Version, 1Corinthians 6:18, both mean avoiding illicit sexual intercourse so that you may avoid the problems and heartaches that follow after such actions.
Answered prayer: When you are listening to God’s instructions and attempting to walk as He leads you, He will also listen to you! Amazing as it may seen, the great God of Heaven is able to hear your petitions, your requests, your heartfelt desires, and He is able to intervene for you and change your situation and help you overcome your problems! This “help” is available as quickly as a silent prayer leaping from your mind. Just like a cell phone instantly carries your requests to the person you are talking to, so does prayer reach out to God instantaneously! Once you set your mind and heart to following God’s way without reservations, He will answer all of your prayers that are in your best interests and are for your long term good.
To zealously follow after God’s way of life in a close walk with your Savior yields many happy, joyful results. His Holy Spirit leads and blesses you, bearing much fruit in your life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23. NIV)
Once again we learn that this spiritual “fruit” of joy and peace cannot be borne by a branch not connected to Jesus! “Remain in me (JESUS), and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine (connected to the vine). Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”(John 15:4 NIV)
Conclusion: You can have a clear conscience, self-respect and HELP from God to overcome and ultimately meet your life’s goals. You can be free from sexual diseases, and the problems of unwanted pregnancy or unexpected fatherhood. It is also much easier to tell whether you truly love someone and whether they are really right for you if your judgment is not blinded by sexual involvement. Also, God hears and answers your prayers if you are actively seeking to do His will and follow His ways. When you lean on the power and strength of Jesus daily, God helps you to live a moral life in an immoral world. With God’s help, you can start reaping the rewards and benefits of a moral way of life!
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Also see also our helpful new article, “Twelve Rules for Bible Study”, in the Meeting Your Needs section of our web site as well as “Defining Right and Wrong”.
Read about the =EQUAL to SERVE=
Conference for Christian Women, held in Atlanta, Georgia, on Pentecost/Memorial weekend, May 25-27, 2001! Men were welcome.
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